Move over son! This skeptic is hopping on the bandwagon!

Are you a book person or a movie person?

The way you answer that is going to make a big difference on how you feel about books being made into movies.

CringingWhen you are a book person, the words “They’re making it into a movie” can be cringe worthy ones.

When I hear that Hollywood is taking on one of my favorite authors, I nearly always cringe. Yes, I might feel a cautious feeble flicker of hope, but the trepidation I feel tends to squelch that tiny flickering flame.

Movies so rarely do justice to a good book.

Yes, I know that there are exceptions, Lord of the Rings being the most obvious one, but more often than not, what the end result is is a butchery of a truly good book.

butcheryTake “City of Bones” for example. Butchery, sheer butchery!

And, if it’s not an outright butchery, it still just falls so very far short of the written work itself. “Memoirs of a Geisha.”  “Gone Girl.” Decent movies, even “good” ones, but such a pale shadow of the written work!

Given this track record, you can understand the anxiety I felt when I heard the “Game of Thrones” was going to be turned into a TV series…

I wanted to be excited. I really did, but experience had taught me that I was likely to be disappointed. Very, very disappointed. The fact that it was HBO taking it on, and not some alphabet network, did give me some hope, the flame did flicker, but…this was my favorite series of all time. My favorite author of all time. Even if it was good, it was unlikely to be good enough.

bandwagonYou have to understand, I am a true fan, not a bandwagon fan. I’ve been with GoT since the beginning.

I remember well when my father told me, my freshman year of college, that if I liked Robert Jordan, he was about to wow me with his new find, a guy named George R. R. Martin. I was skeptical, as at that time I thought that Jordan was the best fantasy writer of all time. Still, as it was my dad giving me the tip, and he’d never done me wrong, I knew I needed to give it a try. With a fair dose of skepticism, I cracked the cover…

And felt into the pages, real world be dammed! Who needs to eat? Work? Sleep? I needed to know what would happen!

I gobbled “Game of Thrones” up in a day and a half, great tome though it was.

I was stunned. Martin had ripped my heart out, chewed it into a pulp, and spit it out right in front of me, the great red, pulpy mass that it now was–and I loved it.

oliverI found myself muttering to myself for several days, “I can’t believe he did that! Did he really just do that?!” It was unconventional. It was brutal. And yet I felt a bit like Oliver holding out my bowl saying, “Mo’ please.”

He changed the way I looked at literature.

I anxiously awaited every new release, and I re-read all the books that came before in anticipation of each new release. I found myself waiting on pins and needles–just what would Martin dare to do next?

I converted all my friends to fandom. We would sit around and cast the TV series for fun– a good decade before HBO decided to take it on.

eddard-starkWe would argue over which actor or actress would best portray what we saw so clearly in our heads. We’d argue and debate until we came to a consensus.

We dreamed that it would happen. For years we talked about what if it happened, but a part of me dreaded the possibility of it truly happening, because how could they possibly do it justice?

Then I heard HBO was taking it on…I followed all the news about casting, very concerned. So many of the choices just didn’t fit my imagination. Sure, you had some that were just perfect like Peter Dinklage (Tyrion), and LittleFinger (Aidan Gillen), but then there was Cersei (Lena Headey) and she just didn’t fit what was in my head…

Despite my fear, I found myself excited, but when it came down to it, fear won out. I couldn’t watch the show. It might spoil the books, and I just couldn’t risk it.

GoT-1024x512But then began the long wait.

And more waiting.

And yet more waiting.

And the waiting became so long and embarrassing, that Martin himself wouldn’t even project dates any more. Heck, he stopped even mentioning the book in his blog!

He’d talk about Comic Con. He’d talk about watching the TV series as it was filmed. He’d talk about going here and going there. He’d talked about his games. And all the little side projects he did. Anything except the book.

And I began to wonder if Martin would ever finish his series at all. And not knowing how it ended…well, that would be truly awful! (After all, my friends and I use to joke and worry about Robert Jordan dying before he could wrap up the “Eye of the World” and, lo! Our fears ended up being quite justified (Though I will say that Brandon Sanderson did a wonderful job of wrapping up that behemoth!))

Then I heard the news that the late comers, the bandwagon hoppers, the new flock of groupies, officially knew more than we, the true and faithful.

Unacceptable. Diabolical! A true outrage!

outrage

The true fans were being left behind!

And I kept hearing how awesome the show was. By everyone. And their brother.

Then even my brother, one of the true and faithful from the beginning, told me I really had to watch it. That I wouldn’t be disappointed…

So, I swallowed my fear, made myself a drink (A nice strong one for the occasion), and curled up on my couch with a good dose of skepticism.

At first, I noticed every difference from the book.

Cersei wasn’t pretty enough. Brienne wasn’t ugly enough. Jamie wasn’t blond enough.

But, I had to grudgingly admit it was good. Maybe not great, but good.

And the further I got, it was more than good.

And as it picked up steam, and increased in budget, it became everything that was in my head–it became amazing.

winterfellIt truly did this brutal world Martin had created justice.

As it went on, I realized that the casting choices that I had questioned were downright inspired. (Lena Headey, I owe you an apology. You are freakin’ amazing and make the absolute perfect Cersei. I can’t help hating you!)

And I mostly stopped questioning the differences from the book (But,why was Caitlyn Stark not brought back by the Lord of Light? Martin, will you please answer where you were going with that story line??).

The truth is, GoT is one of the rare occasions where the screen version actually lives up to the literary work.

David Benioff and Brian Kirk, you set yourselves up for failure when you took on this behemoth, and yet somehow, you more than pulled it off.

This fan humbly thanks you for not butchering my favorite tale. You won over this skeptic, and I am waiting on pins and needles for the last installment…

I know I can’t hope for a happy ending, it is, after all, Martin, but maybe a semi happy ending?? Pretty please? Just this once?

burningWho am I kidding. The world is going to burn, and yet I can’t make myself look away…

I’m once again sticking out my bowl asking “mo’ please.”

I guess we never learn, do we?

 

 

Advertisements

I am a Packer fan and a Cowboy fan . . . but not this week!

I grew up in central Wisconsin. I love Wisconsin. The autumns are breathtaking, perhaps the most beautiful that this world has to offer, and the summers are mild and sunny, filled with lazy days at the many beaches and smores around campfires in the evenings. When the sun is out, people can’t bare to stay inside. We soak it in, bask in it, not willing to take a single moment of it for granted. Like bears after a hibernation, you just can’t stand to go back into that  cave when the sun is shining. Skiing, fishing, hiking– anything so long as it’s outside.Northwoods%20Frozen%20Wonderland-L

Until a child is about ten, it’s a paradise. The subartic temps don’t seem to faze a child intent on sledding down those frozen hills or making the greatest snow fortress or showing off their genius strategy skills in a neighborhood battle of war. But, sometime around ten years old, the cold starts feeling, well, cold.

What is a person to do in the frigid temps in a rural area with nothing but one little movie theater and an AppleBees?

frozen tundraFootball was created for just such a reason! And no where will you see fans more loyal or more dedicated than in the heart of Wisconsin. Why? Because the Pack gives us something to break the monotony. It gives us something to distract us from the bone chilling, mind numbing temps outside our door.

So, it is no wonder that some of my earliest memories include watching the Packers play. I can easily recall my dad howling at some bad call or the groans from a shanked punt and the grumpings during the many dismal years before Brett Favre made his appearance. We didn’t miss a game. Mom planned lunch so that it fell perfectly over half time. Or, if it was a late game, we always had a big cheese tray to snack on over the course of the game. I remember clearly the years with Don Majkowsky, and a nameless punter who would punt for a meager 20 yards. I remember Sterling Sharp’s flips in the end zone (the most exciting part for me, a young girl not really interested in the game). And I remember, how it all began to change when Brett Favre showed up. In the years of famine and in the years of plenty, we were cheeseheads. I was a cheesehead.

But then I met a boy. A boy from Dallas. He was a Cowboy fan. But I liked him . . . . But I hated the Cowboys–especially after the ’95 Championship game. . . But I liked the boy . . .

So I married the boy, and continued to hate the Cowboys.

And we argued about the ’95 Championship game. After all, I had watched that game, and those guys were cocky, they played dirty, and Jerry Jones had to have paid off the refs for them to make (or not make) some of those calls!

For years we’ve argued about that game and I hated the Cowboys . . . until one day I didn’t.

My hatred for the Cowboys faded as Sanders and Irving made way for Tony Romo and Jason Witten. And, since I love the boy, and we both love football, well . . . I didn’t have it in me to root against his favorite team . . . so gradually, over time, I found myself rooting for the Cowboys–so long as it didn’t affect the Packers.

But we still argued about that game. There was no resolving that!

Most years, being a Packer fan and a Cowboy fan doesn’t cause too many problems.

dm_150108_DALGBA few years back, in 2007, we had a bit of an issue. That was the year that the Pack and the Cowboys both came raring out of the gates. Everybody thought that they would end up playing each other in the Championship that year (though only Green Bay played–and lost–as it turned out). Ironically enough, though the two teams rarely meet in the regular season, that year they did. Even more ironically, they were meeting in Dallas (to which my husband had dragged me just a year before), and even more ironically still, one of my students gave me an early Christmas present–two tickets to the most anticipated game of the year, which just so happened to be my first time watching the Packers play in person–and most ironically at all for this Wisconsin girl, that first time was going to be at Dallas Stadium, not Lambeau Field.

I still count that my best Christmas present ever. (Thank you Aysia! ;))

Dallas Cowboys v Green Bay PackersI wore my green and gold; Aaron wore his blue and silver. We sat side by side. I groaned when he cheered; he cheered when I groaned. Half the stadium was in green and gold even though we were at Dallas. It was electric!

Ironically, I have only been to that one game, yet I have seen both Favre and Rodgers play.

Favre got injured early, and things were falling apart. Typical Favre, he tried to play through the injury, but it just wasn’t happening. Things were going south quickly.

But then Rodgers came in, and we came roaring back. It was almost, almost, Rodgers’ first come back of his career, but not quite. The Cowboys took it when it was all said and done. But we had fun, watching it side by side, even though my team lost.

This Sunday, is going to be a little bit different. This isn’t a regular season game. This is the Playoffs, and I think either team has a chance for the Super Bowl. Emotions are bound to get high.

My husband’s family thinks that we shouldn’t watch it together, that things could get ugly.

Obviously they don’t understand us.

My second favorite team is the Cowboys. Aaron’s is the Packers.

I want the Packers to win, but, if they’re going to lose, there is no one I would rather see make it all the way than the Cowboys.

Aaron would say the same thing, except for the Pack.

That doesn’t mean that we aren’t going to trash talk. Of course, we’re going to trash talk!

And trash talk so often seems to lead back to the ’95 Championship game when it comes to the two of us.Favre

Ironically, a couple of days ago, Aaron came up to me and asked me when I had taped the Championship game.

I had no idea what he was talking about.

“The ’95 Championship. When did you tape it?”

“The ’95 Championship? I didn’t tape it.”

“Well, I didn’t . . . but it’s on our DVR . . . should we watch it? I would love to be vindicated! This could be fun!”

So we did just that.

michael_irvin_endzone_thumbWe watched Sanders doing his high step before even getting to the end zone (which caused him not to get to the end zone btw!), and we watched Irving prancing around like a little show pony. We listened to Madden call out the Cowboys for their aggressive and somewhat dirty plays (really, they were pretty typical of an emotionally charged game), and we listened to him make a big deal about all the calls and non-calls (always seeming to go in the Cowboys favor).

It was pretty easy to see why I walked away from that game feeling the way I did.

But it was also pretty clear that the Cowboys had outplayed us.

We both got our vindication.

And Aaron got his victory glow.

The only victory glow he’s going to be getting this week.

Because this week, the Pack is going to be walking away with the victory.GBPackersNFCChampionWallpaper